Friday, February 27, 2009

Common indoor air pollutants

Besides building materials like carpeting, paints and furniture, manufactured out of plywood -and made with toxic glues - cleaners we use on a daily basis can be huge indoor air pollutants that might cause many health related conditions.

We can easily replace them with more natural products that were traditionally used and work today just as well as they used to for our grandmothers.

Below you find the list of most common indoor air pollutants along with some tips, hints and warnings - to make everyone more aware of what they are bringing into - and using in their homes:

air pollution comic

Photo "air pollution comic" courtesy of sustaingreen


  • everything can be effectively and safely cleaned with hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, salt, castille liquid soap, lemon juice and baking soda
  • avoid using chlorine bleach and ammonia, which are found in most cleaning products and are irritating to the respiratory system
  • replace aerosol air fresheners and scented candles with essential oils, fragrance sticks and candles, made of bee wax or soy
  • chemicals that you can smell are a serious warning sign but there are also many silent, just as dangerous ones (like formaldehyde-based chemicals that make fabrics flame-retardant or formaldehyde in glues that hold lots of inexpensive furniture together and formaldehyde in "wrinkle-free” or "easy care" clothes and linens
  • labels on the cleaners that have any kind of skull or crossbones are best to avoid
  • other words that call for caution: use only in in well ventilated areas, poisonous, flammable, caustic or toxic
  • VOCs* can be found in chemical cleaners, paints, vinyl materials and many other products, especially when they’re new. A process known as “degassing” means releasing chemicals into the air and that makes these products a health-risk 
* Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemical compounds that have high enough vapor pressures under normal conditions to significantly vaporize and enter the atmosphere. (Definition from Wikipedia)

pollution

Photo "pollution" courtesy of sustaingreen





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18 comments:

corrin said...

I've tried to use more organic substances to clean with, and I just don't feel like they do the job. Any recommendations for combinations?

Sam Servedio said...

I believe you covered all of the pollutants that there is. thanks for sharing!

cady said...

i love candles, but i never really am able to smell the scent when i burn them, so i've started using other forms of air fresheners, like glade.

Maureen said...

I liked the pictures, very amusing:)
I didn't know about formaldehyde in wrinkle free clothes...very interesting.
I'm with you and in support of natural cleaning products wherever possible

BarbaraRae said...

Chances are you already have baking soda and white vinegar in your kitchen pantry. I use in combination to clean my tub...it works great and is not toxic. Just sprinkle in the bottom of the tub and spray on the white vinegar. It makes bubbles...when done scour with cleaning pad, rinse and you are done!

Heather in Beautiful BC said...

I read recently about the liquid cleaner used for the swiffer wetjet - supposedly it contains a product similar to anti-freeze and can make your pets sick - or worse...

It's also expensive, so I've started mixing water and vinegar to use instead to clean my hardwood floors.

Christina thecoffeelady said...

Natural is alway better!

As The Squillion World Spins said...

Thanks for sharing the list of things to clean with that are not toxic!! And the stuff that is bad for you!
your FL furiends,

Sadie said...

That's a great list! Thanks for sharing! I need to try some more natural cleaners...

Diane Scott said...

You know in the good old days... LOL! Truly thanks for all the work you put into trying to keep us all healthy :)

Connie said...

I am selfishly going green because of my health issues but thanks for the list. It will help me and I'd like to pass it along to others.

Samantha and Mr. Tigger said...

Oh geez, we left our comment under the wrong name!! That is is under As The Squillion World Spins!!! Have a wonderful day!
Your FL furiends,

Diane Scott said...

Came back to reference a few of the indoor pollutants you talk about... came up in a conversation I was having with a friend. Thanks again!

BarbaraRae said...

What a wonderful post...Thanks for sharing!

Maureen said...

Natural products are definitely the way to go

Karen said...

I think people would be shocked to see how much film their ceilings have from burning candles.

Sam Servedio said...

thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post.

Tai Zejan
Overcoming Anxiety Attacks

Daria's World - blog about people and things that matter the most

Daria's World - blog about people and things that matter the most
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